As we usher in 2022 under a cloud of growing uncertainty – the Omicron variant is causing new COVID lockdowns, the 2021-2022 PBA Governors’ Cup conference remains suspended, and the upcoming Philippine Presidential election is still several months away – one thing is clear:
The country is all in on gambling expansion.
Rather, that is to say, the government is all in on gambling expansion.
Unfortunately, however, the people may not be. At least, some of them aren’t.
For example, eSabong (aka online cockfighting) has seen tremendous pushback from both local religious leaders and political hopefuls. Meanwhile, some New Year’s resolutions in the Philippines are seeking out a series of burdensome new restrictions on the growing gambling market.
And while the Philippine government has largely been moving full steam ahead on gaming (particularly online casino gaming), at least one of these protests just took some wind out of PAGCOR’s sails.
Apparently, the heavily protested casino in Opol, Misamis Oriental, has been operating illegally since December.
According to MindaNews, the Grand Imperial Casino has been doing business without a permit since it opened in mid-December.
The venue has already received substantial criticisms for misleading community leaders on the nature of the business itself, as the local populace was largely unaware that this new development – which has the outward appearance of an office complex – was going to be a casino.
Now, after an investigation, even more damning revelations have come to light.
“The Misamis Oriental provincial board investigation chaired by Vice Gov. Jeremy Jonahmar Pelaez…found that the casino had been operating within 300 meters from a church of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, a nursery school and a high school, raising questions about the legality of its operations.”
Other objections exist, too, but these carry less weight.
For example, local representatives claim that casino approval was granted to PAGCOR in 2017, long before the current Sangguniang Bayan (aka municipal council) was elected.
This 2017 approval gave PAGCOR the right to expand casino operations to the town of Opol, and there doesn’t appear to be any qualifier re the necessary timeline of construction and operation.
Still, the fact that the casino hasn’t procured proper licensing is sure to be a black eye for the Grand Imperial and for PAGCOR, and it will certainly muddy the waters concerning casino expansion going forward.
Of course, if you live in the Philippines, this may not actually matter.
The country is slowly but surely legalizing iGaming at most of its brick-and-mortar casino venues, although these online gambling games are still restricted to established VIP members.
Since the vast majority of Filipino gamblers aren’t VIPs at local gambling houses, they can’t play online slots, online roulette, online blackjack, various other table games, or live-dealer games with these venues.
They can, however, enjoy all of the above – plus legal online Philippine sports betting and legal online Philippine poker – at all the best-rated offshore gambling sites serving the area.
Venues like BetOnline and SportsBetting AG – among others – have been accepting bets from Filipinos for years, and there are no gambling laws barring the practice of real-money offshore gaming.
Eventually, we expect the local gambling options to encompass every kind of betting market and cater to all classes of players. However, until then, you don’t have to wait to get a first-rate online gambling experience.
2022 Philippine Presidential Election Odds – Latest Update
We’ve covered the evolving 2022 Presidential election before, but the odds have now shifted considerably in favor of the favorite and leaving everyone – including Manny Pacquaio – in the dust.
Per BetOnline Sportsbook, here’s how things currently stand as the Philippine election draws ever closer (previous odds in parentheses):
2022 Presidential Election Winner
- Bongbong Marcos -1000 (-125)
- Leni Robredo +700 (+800)
- Manny Pacquiao +900 (+180)
- Isko Moreno +2000 (+1000)
- Sara Duterte-Carpio +6500 (+1000)*
- Bong Go +10000 (+3000)
- Alan Peter Cayetano +15000 (+10000)
- Antonio Trillanes +15000 (+10000)
*Mayor Sara is actually running for Philippine Vice President in an alliance with Bongbong Marcos, so she technically shouldn’t even be on these boards. Duterte-Carpio is the overwhelming favorite to win the VP election.
Manny Pacquiao for Philippine President?
- No -2800 (-1050)
- Yes +900 (+600)